MOUNT VERNON, WA—If you travel through Fir Island and around LaConner this summer, you’ll see more than potatoes, cauliflower and pumpkins sprouting in Skagit Valley’s farm fields.
Skagitonians to Preserve Farmland (SPF), in partnership with Eddyline Kayaks and Skagit Farmers Supply, has launched a new version of the popular Crop Identification signage program that began as a volunteer effort 15 years ago. One hundred new signs made of plastic and aluminum will be placed along the original three signage routes, each featuring the name of the crop against a vibrant green background.
“I’m sure we’ve all driven by a field in the Skagit Valley and asked ourselves what was growing there,” said Lisa Derrer, co-owner of Eddyline Kayaks. “Now you will know. The Crop Identification program is a visible, fun and educational way of connecting people to local agriculture.”
Longtime conservation volunteer Bob Knowles started the program in 1995 to satisfy a desire to know more about food crops being grown in the Skagit Valley. SPF became more involved in the program five years ago and Derrer now volunteers as the crop sign coordinator.
“Over the past 18 months SPF has been working to revitalize the program by working with community members to redesign the signs with new graphics, color and lettering,” said Allen Rozema, SPF executive director.
“We also wanted to create signs that would make it easier for volunteers to transport and change them out as crops rotate around the valley,” said Rozema. “Between the manufacturing and design expertise of Eddyline Kayaks and the use of standard off the shelf materials, we’ve achieved our goal to create an excellent signage system that should bring great visibility to Skagit agriculture and make it easier for our volunteers to maintain. We are so grateful to Eddyline Kayaks and Skagit Farmers Supply, and to the community, for their support of this important program.”
Lisa Derrer’s involvement stems from a personal attachment.
“Growing up in a farming family gave me a deep love of land and its stewardship,” she said.
“My involvement with SPF’s Crop Identification Program is a small way I can help to nurture an interest in agriculture and its importance to our community.”
“Skagit Farmer’s Supply is pleased to support this program and its goals to bring more visibility to the diversity of crops grown in the Skagit Valley,” said Ken Kadlec, general manager of Skagit Farmer’s Supply, “and to raise the awareness of agriculture as a valuable economic base of our community.”
Over time, Rozema hopes to extend the crop identification program from Conway to the Chuckanuts, throughout the more than 60,000 acres of the Skagit and Samish River Deltas as well as east of Sedro-Woolley.
For more information about the SPF Crop Identification Program, call 360-336-3974 or email email@example.com.